live slow, love nature, be adventurous

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Norway: Trollstigen & Geirangerfjord

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I still have so many stories and pictures to share with you all from my travels through Norway this summer and while it will probably take me until Easter to finally play catch up, I didn’t want to deny you these experiences. When I look back at my pictures, I sometimes can scarcely believe that I have been to these places or that places like these even exist in the first place. And has it really only been three months since I first came to Norway? So much has happened in that time, that I occasionally feel like I have been here for three years already!

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After visiting Trondheim, we head south to the Geirangerfjord, but on the way we need to pass Trollstigen first. The Trollstigen (literally Troll’s Ladder) is one of Norway’s most famous scenic tourist routes and arguably also one of the most famous hairpin roads in the world. With a slope of up to 12 % and the amount of two-way travel it can also make your blood freeze if you’re not terribly fond of heights. I’m certainly glad that I wasn’t driving! But once you have made it to the top, you are awarded with a magnificent view over the Isterdal and its adjacent mountains. 

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We passed the Gudbradsjuvet, a beautiful gorge through which a river made its way…

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... and then took the ferry over the beautiful Storfjord.

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One thing that is really difficult to describe with words is just how it feels to drive through the Norwegian mountains… I could obviously go on and on about how gorgeous the nature is, but no words can come close to adequately describing what it feels like to drive across a plateau 800 meters above sea level and then suddenly see the mountains open up to reveal the sight: 

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The Geirangerfjord may very well be Norway’s most famous Fjord. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site (together with the Næroyfjord further south), this tiny (by comparison) little fjord in the heart of Norway has become one of the country’s most popular tourism sites and much of that is due to the fact that multiple large cruise ships and the Hurtigruten call in every day carrying with them thousands of people eager to catch a glimpse of the beauty of this place. 

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To give you an idea of the scope: Geiranger is a small village at the end of the Geirangerfjord. There are some camping sites, a bigger hotel and some stores and that’s pretty much it. It’s really not a big place, even in comparison with other Norwegian towns. During the day, Geiranger is full with tourists who use the town as a starting point for day trips within the region, but if you want to escape the crowds, there are plenty of great hiking opportunities that allow you to experience Norwegian nature (almost) in solitude. 

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I also met some new friends!

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The next morning we left Geiranger and had one last look at the Fjord…

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… just in time before the first buses came. The amount of people quickly got overwhelming, so we left and the further we drove, the scarcer the amount of buses – or cars in general – became. The Geirangerfjord was a beautiful place, but it didn’t really come close to the Norway that I fell in love with: The Norway where you might meet more sheep than man. The Norway where the air is so refreshingly clear and you get to experience what it’s like to be a tiny, little person next to the big, old mountains that have seen so much more than you.

That’s the Norway I love and the Norway I want to share with you and encourage you all to get to know. Not every place will be in a guidebook and many places may not even have names on a map. But does that mean that they’re any less special or any less beautiful? I don’t think so, because every once in a while you will drive out of a tunnel and suddenly see this:

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linking up with Bonnie

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